By Daniel Menefee, Dan@MarylandReporter.com
ANNAPOLIS (April 5, 2012)—Tensions ran high in the Senate Wednesday when Sen. Paul Pinsky, D- Montgomery, questioned a decision by Senate President Mike Miller to delay final vote on a bill to ban arsenic in chicken feed until the end of the days session.
Miller cut off extensive debate between Sens. Pinsky and Thomas Mac Middleton, D-Charles, to move more controversial bills to the end of the agenda. Pinsky objected, saying he was promised a final vote on Wednesday.
As I recall, Friday you said there would be no other extensions, Pinsky said. I just want to reinforce
no more delays.
We want to try and get it over with today, senator, Miller responded.
On Friday I think
you agreed to the
delay if we moved it [the bill] on Wednesday, Pinsky said.
I dont intend to delay this bill, I promise you, Miller said.
Pinsky pushed again.
But I heard another promise on Friday, so Im just trying to figure out which promise were dealing with today, Pinsky said, arousing groans of displeasure from fellow senators.
Miller was not happy.
Do you want to apologize right now or what? Miller asked, reddening with anger.
Pinsky quickly apologized, but kept pressing for a vote on the bill.
Miller slammed his gavel in response.
Were going to move forward on this bill today, Miller said curtly. We have 1,000 other bills. Everybody has a bill they think is equally important [and] were going to try and take them up and move them as best we can.
The bill was brought to the floor an hour later and adopted by the Senate with an amendment offered by Middleton.The bill now goes to a joint conference committee with the House to consider Middletons amendment.
The visceral exchange underscored the tension lawmakers are under to get their bills to a vote before the April 9 deadline, when the session is scheduled to officially end.
Some lawmakers said later in the day the tension may have been heightened by a proclamation delivered to the Senate floor from Gov. Martin OMalley that will extend the session by 10 days if any legislation was not finalized by the last day of the session. Miller asked his colleagues on Tuesday to keep their calendars clear for the 10 days following the session, just in case the budget was not approved by both chambers in time.
Miller and Pinsky spoke after the session and apologized to each other.